Prime Video Adds Two New True-Crime Documentaries to Growing Slate
Two new UK Original true-crime series, The Greatest Show Never Made and Fake Sheikh, will launch globally on Prime Video next year
New commissions join extraordinary adoption-battle story Three Mothers (working title) and The Confession, the chilling tale of missing British housewife Patricia Hall
LONDON—24 August, 2022—Prime Video today revealed further investment into documentary filmmaking with two new UK Original series, The Greatest Show Never Made and Fake Sheikh. Both documentaries will launch on Prime Video in 2023. These series will sit alongside the chilling Patricia Hall documentary, The Confession, three-part series Three Mothers (working title), and previously announced documentary series launching in the next six months, including a film about YouTube sensation KSI produced by Louis Theroux and Ben Stokes: Phoenix from the Ashes.
The Greatest Show Never Made reveals how, on a wet morning in June 2002, four cameras filmed 30 contestants who had travelled to a park in South East London, to take part in the biggest reality show on TV. The show is going to change their lives - and it is all captured on camera. They have quit their jobs and given up their homes to be here. Some have left long-term partners and sold their possessions; all want to escape the 9-5 grind, and start on the road to adventure, fame and fortune. It’s the new millennium and anything is possible. Just one small thing…the show does not exist. At the heart of this gripping, funny and emotional series is an exploration of fame, identity and the desire we all share to escape the traps of everyday life. Across 5 days and a rollercoaster of highs and lows, this charismatic, determined group try and turn disaster into triumph as they confront the collapse of their dreams. The 2 x 50’ series will be produced by Factual Fiction, with Executive Producers Emily Dalton and Jonathan Smith and BAFTA Breakthrough and RTS Award winning Producer/Director Ashley Francis-Roy.
Fake Sheikh, from Voltage TV, tells the thrilling story of maverick reporter Mazher Mahmood, whose exposés generated headlines by his use of false identities to ensnare royals, sports stars, politicians, celebrities and members of the public. The three-part UK Original documentary series will track his meteoric rise to the highest ranks of the tabloid press—twice winning Reporter of The Year at The British Press Awards—and his subsequent downfall and imprisonment. The interviewees include those within Mahmood’s inner circle who, in some cases, are talking for the first time about the operation and tactics of the reporter, with never-before-broadcast footage of the so-called “King of the Sting” in action. The series will also give a voice to those who were stung, so that they will have the chance to tell their side on some well-known tabloid stories that in many cases had devastating effects on their lives. This will include household names whose targeting by Mahmood generated some of the biggest headlines of the time. Fake Sheikh is directed by Ceri Isfryn, with executive producers Sanjay Singhal and Jonathan Smith.
“Original documentary storytelling is a key part of our growing UK slate, from nail-biting sport to intriguing whodunnits and stranger-than-fiction history,” said Dan Grabiner, head of UK Originals, Amazon Studios. “We’re excited to be working with tremendously talented filmmakers, both new directors and legends of the genre, to bring these remarkable human stories to a global audience.”
Prime Video also confirmed the title of The Confession, a compelling documentary from ITN Productions that examines the chilling disappearance of British housewife Patricia Hall. When Patricia vanishes from the small Yorkshire town of Pudsey, her husband Keith becomes a suspect, caught in a storm of rumour and suspicion. Only after a year, when Keith falls in love with a beautiful stranger, does the terrible truth about his wife’s disappearance seem to emerge in a shocking series of twists and revelations. The Confession is directed by Sam Hobkinson, and produced by Vivienne Perry, with executive producers Nathaniel Lippiett and Ian Rumsey.
Three Mothers (working title) is a three-part series from Scottish independent production company Firecrest Films. In 2000, Alan and Judith Kilshaw adopted twin baby girls from the U.S. and brought them home to north Wales. Within days, they found themselves at the centre of the biggest media storm of the new millennium, as stories emerged that the Kilshaws had bought the babies online for £8,000. An extraordinary transatlantic battle blew up when an American couple claimed the two baby girls had been kidnapped from their home in California. Then the birth mother entered the fray to claim the babies back. Three Mothers revisits these astonishing events and the ripples they caused across the world. For the first time, all three mothers speak out, setting the record straight with powerful testimony and reflection. Alice McMahon-Major is the series director, Zehra Yas is the series producer and the executive producers are Nicole Kleeman and Vari Innes.
The Greatest Show Never Made, Fake Sheikh, The Confession, and Three Mothers will launch on Prime Video in the next 12 months. The films represent Prime Video’s growing UK Original slate, along with new UK-produced series and movies launching across 2022 and 2023. These include The Devil’s Hour, a six-part thriller series produced by Hartswood Films starring Jessica Raine and Peter Capaldi; Jungle, a rap and drill music drama from first-time TV producers Nothing Lost; The Rig, Wild Mercury’s six-part epic thriller series starring Martin Compston and Emily Hampshire; Mammals, a six-part comedy-drama series written by Jez Butterworth and starring James Corden and Sally Hawkins; My Policeman, a romantic drama film set in the 1950s directed by Michael Grandage staring Harry Styles, Emma Corrin, and David Dawson; and Catherine Called Birdy, a medieval comedy film written and directed by Lena Dunham, based on the 1994 novel of the same name.
About Factual Fiction
With the backing of Great Point Media, Emily and Tom Dalton launched Factual Fiction in May 2020. It’s an independent TV production company based in North Yorkshire, with a sustainable, collaborative approach and a commitment to great stories. Factual Fiction combines Emily’s experience as Managing Director of Endemol Shine-owned Darlow Smithson, with Tom’s work as a commercials director and writer/producer.
About Voltage TV
Voltage TV is an award-winning London-based independent production company, founded in 2013 by Sanjay Singhal and Steve Nam. It’s made hundreds of hours of factual television for broadcasters including the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5, Discovery and Netflix. Documentary credits include the four part series Bin Laden: The Road to 9/11 (C4); Savile: Portrait of a Predator (ITV), The Trial of Louse Woodward (ITV); Ant and Dec: Our DNA Journey (ITV) and the forthcoming Trouble At Topshop (BBC). The company is also co-producing a feature-drama, with The Lighthouse Film and TV, about the infamous interview with Prince Andrew. Sanjay Singhal is the founder of and CEO of Voltage, and co-executive producer on Fake Sheikh. In 25 years of TV production, he’s been nominated for seven BAFTAs and has worked on a wide range of documentaries and premium factual television: from The Apprentice to the highly-acclaimed C4/ Discovery one-off special, The Plane Crash. Jonathan Smith is co-executive producer: 15 years ago he pioneered the fixed-rig documentary by directing his landmark series, The Family. He followed up with the BAFTA and multi award-winning One Born Every Minute. He was an executive producer on Channel 4’s factual entertainment series, Hunted; most recently he’s worked with Amazon Studios UK as a consultant executive producer on All or Nothing. Ceri Isfryn is making her series directing debut with Fake Sheikh. After a career in current affairs she acted as Series Producer on the highly-acclaimed BBC series, House of Maxwell.
About Firecrest Films
Firecrest Films is a multi-award winning factual producer based in Glasgow. The company is nominated as Best Small Indie at the Edinburgh TV Festival Awards, the third consecutive year it’s been shortlisted. Firecrest has been cited as one of the best places to work in TV by Broadcast magazine, and the fastest growing indie outside London.
About ITN Productions
Formed in 2010, ITN Productions is ITN’s Oscar-nominated, multi-award-winning in-house production company producing non-fiction content for UK broadcasters and networks around the world. ITN Productions is the world leader in fast-turnaround documentaries and live debate programmes as well as high-rating popular factual series, current affairs and access docs, short-form docs and biographies for major international broadcasters such as BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5, Sky, PBS, Discovery+, Netflix, Amazon, Peacock, Oxygen, Paramount Plus, Lifetime and CBS. Specialists in producing true crime documentaries across a range of high-profile cases which have included: Lost Boy: The Killing of James Bulger; The Disappearance of Shannon Matthews (Channel 5); Secrets of the Krays (BritBox and ITV) and Gaby Petito: The Murder That Gripped the World (Peacock). Other long-running programmes and recent commissions include: Jeremy Vine (Channel 5); The Confession (Amazon); Michael Palin: Into Iraq (Channel 5); the flagship political analysis series, The Andrew Neil Show (Channel 4); History 101 (Netflix); Dirty Rotten Scammers (BBC One); Sir Trevor McDonald and Charlene White: Has George Floyd Changed Britain? (ITV); Love Rats (Paramount Plus), The Flipside (BBC) and Doctors of War: Saving Lives (Channel 5); BAFTA award-winning and Oscar nominated For Sama, a co-production with Channel 4 News (Channel 4 and PBS Frontline); Harry and Meghan: An African Journey (ITV and ABC); observational series Chatsworth and Christmas at Liberty (Channel 4) and Live: Britain's Next PM - The Channel 4 Debate for Channel 4.
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